Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Current Trends in WEEE Management in Romania

Academic journal article Theoretical and Empirical Researches in Urban Management

Current Trends in WEEE Management in Romania

Article excerpt

1. INTRODUCTION

The last decades are characterized by a rapid increase in consumption of electrical and electronic equipment (EEE) (Bhutta et al., 2011; Pipas et al., 2013; Needhidasan et al., 2014; Ciocoiu et al, 2015a). These products have become indispensable in today's modern society and are successfully used in the medical sector, education, communication, security, etc. The consequence of this development is the increasing amount of electronic waste (Ciocoiu et al., 2013), especially as certain equipment become obsolete too fast. Moreover, the rapid rate of innovation in electronics determines people to buy new types of products in order to replace the old ones with others more efficient (Colesca and Popescu, 2013).

The e-waste collection is influenced by many factors, such as consummer behaviour, contextual factors (laws and regulation, monetary incentives, community expectations), the strategies adopted for e-waste management, the pace of adopting e-waste regulations(Colesca, Ciocoiu and Popescu, 2014).

Because of its composition, waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) is one of the most complicated types of waste, making it difficult to recycle (Kourmousis et al., 2011). This waste contains materials that can be recovered (Cui and Zhang, 2008; Rudareanu, 2014), and toxic substances that can harm the environment and endanger human health (Kidee et al., 2013). Therefore, it should be managed properly, especially as it represents one of the problems of pollution worldwide (Popescu et al., 2014).

In these conditions, its recycling becomes vital, especially as the process has an economic motivation thanks to the materials that could be recovered. However, there are huge differences between the different types of products and their composition may vary from one product to another. Moreover, the economic value of such waste depends both on the value of recovered materials and on the costs of technology and equipment used (Pipas et al., 2013). Waste recycling and recovery is a major problem worldwide. Even in industrialized countries not all electronic waste is recycled and recovered, some of them being disposed of to landfill or, depending on their type, incinerated (Crowe et al., 2003).

On the other hand, the proper management of WEEE contributes to the progress in implementing environmental policies and diminishing the danger generated by the uncontrolled waste disposal, but also promotes saving scarce natural resources and raw materials.

For Romania, although the adaptation to EU regulations in the field was made continuously, there are still many issues to be improved, especially regarding the e-waste collection.

2. RECENT EVOLUTIONS REGARDING THE LEGAL FRAMEWORK

The Romanian legislation is continuously adapted to the European regulations, focusing on the alignment of national policies in the field of WEEE collection and recycling. One of the recent changes is the adoption of the Government Emergency Ordinance no. 5/2015 on WEEE. This ordinance opens a new page in the implementation of the acquis communautaire in the environment field in our country and introduces new targets for electronic waste, calculated by using a formula. The normative act transposes the Directive 2012/19/EC and replaces the previous provisions made by Government Decision no. 1037/2010 on WEEE.

The directive 2012/19/EC extends the producer's responsibility for his product till the post-consumption stage. The collective organizations are seen as part of the recycling chain serving to close the costs on the circuit, from the collection to treatment and finally to recycling.

Since January 2016, the transposition of the directive into Romanian legislation has replaced the annual targets for WEEE collecting and recycling. Therefore, the target of 4 kg per capita has been replaced with a rate of 40% of the average weight of products put on the market by Romanian producers in the three preceding years (see Table 1). …

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